Go to the Antarctic via Bellingham Tonight

Go to the Antarctic via Bellingham Tonight

Mike Powell, a professional photographer and damn fine big and small boat sailor, will be presenting UHURU 65 Degrees South or How I Learnt to Sail tonight at the Bellingham Yacht Club. It’s his tale of an epic cruise to the Antarctic. Powell’s also the BYC Youth Fleet Captain and suggests a $5 donation to the program. Mike is very entertaining, and an extremely talented photographer, so it would be a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Here’s a description of the program:

In 2011 Mike Powell a landlubber with a camera went aboard his brothers boat UHURU, an Oyster 62, for two months and headed South from the Falkland Islands, across the Drake Passage to the Antarctic peninsula, around the Horn and up into Chilean Patagonia. During the trip the crew used all their toys, great sailing, scuba, ice climbing up mountains, skiing down them and fly fishing in Chile via horseback

This is the story that has been shown multiple times before, to multiple sailors and yacht clubs both in the USA and UK and featured on the cover of UK’s Yachting Magazine. If you missed it last time please come and watch it this time or come again.

Bellingham Yacht Club, Dec. 13th at 6.30pm. Suggested $5 donation at the door goes towards local youth sailing.

Youth Movement at Turkey Bowl

Youth Movement at Turkey Bowl
Laser Radials lining up for a start on Saturday. Matt Wood photo.

Corinthian YC’s Turkey Bowl doesn’t always attract the biggest fleets (something about sailing in November), but last weekend, thanks to the efforts of kids, coaches and parents, it was a remarkably well attended regatta. Nearly 60 boats were entered including 505s, Vanguard 15s, RS Aeros, Lasers, Laser Radials and Optimists.

Mats Elf won the closely contested 505 class, while Dieter Creitz won the Optis with straight bullets and Nate Walgren won the 4-boat Vanguard 15 fleet.

Lasers setting up for a start Sunday.

The singlehanded fleets each had a strong showing with 14 Aeros, 9 Laser standard rigs and 13 Laser Radials. Dan Falk, winner in the Aero class, “couldn’t remember having that much fun” as the last heavy air duel against Carl Buchan. They finished a foot apart, with the nod going to Buchan. Oregon’s Doug Seeman made his trip worthwhile, winning the Laser standard rig on the strength of a dominating performance on the light air first day. In the Radial class, it was Owen Timm taking the win over Abbie Carlson and Kit Stohl. The Radial class is really coming into its own and is a great place for younger and smaller sailors to compete at a high level

Results here. 

One of the groups of young sailors came from the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center, a City of Seattle racing program based on Lake Washington and now headed up by Kaitlyn Van Nostrand. It would be great to have a city-based program turning up at regattas! Here’s Kaitlyn’s report from the weekend:

Mt. Baker Youth Sailing Team culminated its first fall practice series by attending CYC’s annual Turkey Bowl with 4 lasers and 2 Opti’s. Three of our novice sailors had never raced on the Sound before and for one of our Opti sailors, it was her breakout regatta! They were tough kids, considering most juniors start and stop when the weather is warm and dry.  

With some nervous laughs, the junior sailors joined the 505’s, RS Aero’s, Lasers, Radials and Optis for 6 great races on Saturday. Our team learned about the current, being scared then excited about the waves, swell and lots of ah ha moments when we talked about how the current would affect the mark rounds, and connecting the theory to practice when the current did just that. For two of our Radial sailors, their goal was to finish the races. Finish they did and by the end of the day, the race committee was cheering them on as they crossed the line!  For the other two second year Laser sailors, it was to see their great improvement that all the sailing they did this fall paid off. As they were able to finish closer to the fleet of great year around juniors sailors from SYC’s race team! Our Opti sailors learned how to stay out of the way of 505’s screaming past and got a few helloss from our laser master’s friends! After over 5 hours on the water and some warm chili, our sailors were falling asleep at the Clubhouse. Needless to say, they had a good night sleep! 

The forecast was wild for Sunday, but we did manage to get two great races off in the funny west/south west direction. Then the real fun began, the swells started getting larger before the big gusts came just as the second laser race was finishing. Race committee abandoned racing for the junior classes and the parade of laser radials and opti’s made their way back to the docks. It was a wild ride in huge gusts and big swell for our lake sailors! They were pleased enough to be done early after the long day Saturday. We washed our boats, packed up and headed back to Mt. Baker. Lots of smiles, lots of excellent experience gained and excited to start up again in the Spring.

If any Junior Sailors are interested in joining our youth sailing team at Mt. Baker, we will be starting Laser and Opti practice again on the weekends in April 2018. Sailors must know how to sail, but do not need racing experience. All our boats are owned by Mt. Baker Rowing & Sailing Center and we have scholarships available. We practice April to November! Email Coach Kaitlyn at mtbakersailingteam@gmail.com to find out more. 

Thanks, Kaitlyn, and I’ll second her call for more sailors. Whether it’s Mount Baker, Sail Sandpoint, CYC, SYC, high schoolers or any of the other great junior programs around, competitive sailing is definitely on the upswing in the Northwest. There are plenty of great coaches, parents and other sailors to help and keep things safe.

Have a great Thanksgiving all!

RTC Youth Sailing Challenge – Final Leg Starts Now!

RTC Youth Sailing Challenge – Final Leg Starts Now!

The Round the County Race was, in my opinion, already the best big boat race in the Northwest. Race organizers just made it even better. As part of this year’s race, there’s a fundraising program (and competition!) to benefit junior sailing in the region.

Longtime racer Bob Brunius is the driver behind the Youth Sailing Challenge. He’s seen what some support can do for junior sailing. As much as the Orcas Island YC would like to support youth sailing, there really needed to be a separate entity capable of receiving 501c3 tax deductible donations to provide meaningful support to youth sailing. “In our region we set up Sail Orcas, and were able to hired the very talented coach Hannah Tuson-Turner part time. That has really helped our program. Orcas’ girl’s team went to the championship in California and our team racing group went to the nationals. It’s really building, as is youth sailing in the Northwest.”

So, what about the Youth Challenge? Well, if you go to this link, you’ll find a short description, a link to donate (choosing the specific program – if any – to which you want to contribute and choosing under which boat you want to contribute). There’s also a link to “Challenge Standings.” Challenge Standings? Hey, why not make a race of it. It’s kinda like boats meeting on the water…..

Currently Wild Rumpus is leading, followed by Crazy Salsa and Brunius’ Time Bandit. Hey, a lot can change on the final leg of a race, and the gun doesn’t sound on this challenge until Sunday night at 2000 hrs.

Here’s the link to the program. Donate!

Kids LOVE Lasers

So, while you’re prepping for, sailing in or putting the boat to bed from RTC, think about the exciting and enthusiastic youth sailing that is emerging all over this region. They’re the RTC sailors of the future, Olympic representatives etc. If you haven’t seen the high school sailing scene lately, you’re missing out. It’s really exciting. Also, more funds means more access for a lot of young sailors who might not have the chance otherwise.

And don’t forget, Bruce Hedrick is going to come up with delivery and race weather outlooks for RTC over the next two days. Check back often.

Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Gridley and Timms Win NWISA Singlehanded Championships

Northwest Interscholastic Sailing Association Singlehanded Championships

Photo by Jim Skeel

It wasn’t the breeziest of regattas, but the high school singlehanded championships were sailed over the weekend off Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle. The winners were Grant Gridley in the Radial class and Owen Timms in the full rig class. University sailors got their own Radial and full rig fleets. Congratulations to all who participated. BTW, I’m pleased to report that the Seattle Laser Fleet provided a number of boats in support of this event.

Here’s the report from the NWISA:

Saturday, September 23:

Competitors from around the Northwest were greeted by a light southerly on Saturday morning. This proved to be quite stable and peaked around 8 knots by noon. The breeze then began to fade, and by 3pm it had shut off completely. We were fortunate to complete 6 radial and 7 full rig races in that time, alternating between double lap windward/leewards and trapezoid courses. The 20 boat Laser Radial fleet especially was very competitive. This resulted in at least 8 general recalls (we lost count) and most of the later starts under I-flag.

Sunday, September 24:

The forecast for Sunday looked bleak, and after a shore postponement competitors left the dock at 11am to try racing in a fragile northerly. The breeze was just strong enough to start a Radial race, and it maintained a 3-4 knot average until most competitors had finished. After it fizzled out, competitors waited around on the water for another hour and a half before the Race Committee called racing for the day. NWISA is excited to send representatives Owen Timms and Per Black in the Full Rig and Grant Gridley and Abbie Carlson in the Laser Radial to St. Petersburg, FL later this fall. They will do a terrific job representing our conference. Big thanks to all the volunteers and race officials this weekend. The regatta was well run and made the most of our limited racing windows.

More Photos by Jim Skeel. Click to enlarge.

US Sailing just sent out their Youth Sailing newsletter. Take a look.

Yanez Repeats at the 2017 Dale Jepsen One Design Regatta in Bellingham

Yanez Repeats at the 2017 Dale Jepsen One Design Regatta in Bellingham

It was a small but mighty fleet of Lasers at Bellingham Yacht Club’s Dale Jepsen One Design regatta this year. Jorge Yanez, the winner of the DJOD last year and the winner of the Laser Radial Masters Nationals event in the Gorge this year was there; the winner and runner up from 2015, Sascha Smutny and Doug Honey were there; and Perham Black, fresh off his win at the Bellingham Youth Regatta was there. The top of the 9-boat fleet was so evenly matched that places changed at nearly every mark rounding.

This is a photo from the Laser fleet in a previous Dale Jepsen Regatta.

Mike Johnson lead the regatta after two races with a first and a third for four points, followed closely by Yanex and Black with five points each. Yanez jumped out after that with two firsts in races 3 and 4, establishing a five point lead on Black. Undeterred, Black went hard right on the last beat of the last race, jumping past several boats and winning the race. Yanez finished 4th to save the regatta win by one point.  If he had been 5th, the tie breaker would have gone to Black.  

Third place went to Mike Johnson with only 4 points separating third through sixth places. It is for this kind of tight racing, often overlapped with other boats at every mark rounding and multiple boats arriving at the finish together, that we keep showing up. There were no protests, no starting line abuses, and only a few capsizes. Racers compared their ideas after each race were clearly glad to be lucky enough to be having fun among friends.  

Results here.

Regatta chair Mike Poulos, race officer Jonathan Knowles and their terrific volunteers, did a great job under difficult circumstances to choreograph five well-run and fair races. All races occurred on Sunday due to no wind on Saturday. Saturday had been the regatta organizer’s nightmare. Just enough wind to leave shore that went flat at the first warning, and then came back up 10 minutes after all boats got back to the parking lot. So on Sunday, everyone was elated to see a sunny 8 to 12 knot southeasterly materialize from the glassy bay – less than an hour before the first warning. The breeze held nicely right up through the last race and then died.  

It is interesting to note that only three participants at the event this year were also at the event last year.  Some could say we lost the others but the positive perspective says we gained several new people. Let’s build on that momentum and have some great events this fall. We could have a start at Corinthian’s PSSC (October 7-8) and Turkey Bowl (November 18-19). Would it be crazy to imagine 15 Laser’s on the starting line?

–Jay Leon

Ed. Note: I’d love to post something on the FJ and 505 fleets, so if anyone wants to share some words or photos, send them along and I’ll get them in. Also, thanks to Jay for the Laser report. No, indeed, 15 Lasers is not too many to expect for for PSSC and Turkey Bowl, especially if the great young sailors show up. Maybe both full rig and Radial fleets? Note this video from the Junior Olympic Regatta.

Junior Olympics Hosted by SYC

Junior Olympics Hosted by SYC

Junior sailing is certainly alive and well in the Pacific Northwest. This video from the Junior Olympics sailed last month and hosted by SYC was just made available:

NW Junior Olympics 2017 from Matau Media on Vimeo.

 

SYC Coach Cameron Hoard Reports: Seattle Yacht Club hosted the 2017 North West Jr Olympic Regatta. The racing took place August 26-27, on Shilshole Bay. This year the event had 93 boats with 112 Jr sailors competing for gold in one of the largest Junior regattas in the NW. Two days of perfect sailing, with 8 races sailed in 8-15 conditions on Puget Sound, plus an excellent Salmon dinner on Saturday, and fun party with raffle prizes and piñatas!

I’ll echo what SYC sailing director Brian Ledbetter has said, that much of the success of junior sailing in the area can be attributed to Andrew Nelson of The Sailing Foundation.

It’s worth noting that the tremendous turnout and enthusiasm was for traditional classes: FJs, Vanguard 15s, Laser Radials and lots of Optimists. Kids turn out in droves and have plenty of fun in those “old” designs!

Results.

Kids Sailing a Clean Regatta

Kids Sailing a Clean Regatta
A few stickers and old trophies are new again!

Kaitlyn Van Nostrand recently assumed coaching duties at the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center on Lake Washington. She’s also a dedicated environmental pro, currently an account manager at Republic Services. She’s been working with Sailors for the Sea for following their Clean Regatta guidelines, and last weekend’s Milfoil junior regatta was deemed “Clean.” It sets a great example for other sailing and yacht clubs to follow, and by the sounds of it, it was more fun than chore. Here’s Kaitlyn’s report on the event, borrowed from an email to Sailors for the Sea. 

We had a great Milfoil Junior Regatta with both sun and wind last Saturday. There were 26 participants sail in 4 fleets (Opti, Laser, V15 and FJ) from 7 different clubs in the Seattle area. We had our sailors from Mt. Baker be on our green team wearing green t-shirts with me. They rocked the pins on their life jackets. 🙂

Our first place trophies were re-purposed ones that I found in the boathouse from the 1970’s! I removed the plaque on the front (may reuse them for other awards later), put a Sailors for the Sea Sticker on them and they came out great. Our participation awards were mugs for Optis and glasses for the other classes that I got from Goodwill. Stickered them as well, they looked awesome! Each participant received a sticker too. 

Our office staff was great in helping with our water bottle station, communicating to sailors they needed to BYO water bottle and we ran a nearly zero waste event since our lunch was pizza and we composted the plates and pizza boxes. 🙂 

Looking forward to passing on our Clean Regatta lessons to other clubs on the Northwest circuit to get more clean regattas registered for next summer.

Real Community Sailing in Renton

Real Community Sailing in Renton

Joe Burcar and I were privileged to speak at The Renton (Seattle suburb) Sailing Center’s monthly meeting a couple of nights ago. Privileged, I say, because listening to Rebekah Padgett and the dozen or so sailors attending, turned on a lightbulb for me.

Community sailing takes root at meetings like this.

Sure, big community sailing programs draw a lot of attention, including mine, but perhaps this is where sailing’s future health can be found and where more of my attention should be focused.

Think oceanic, sail local. Really local.

 

Joe Burcar

Joe was a board member of The Sailing Foundation, and the theme he focused on was partnering. Padget and her team are doing that, working with other programs in the area that are interested in partnering and with The Sailing Foundation. Cooperating with the city of Renton they have dock space, boats (including keelboats), an education program and above all esprit de corps.

Joe and I talked about the history of sailing here in the Pacific Northwest and how we see the future of the sport in the area. But the most interesting part of the talk for me was hearing the intention, and difficulties, of getting kids sailing. The Renton club needs more families involved, but it’s hard to entice them with all the competition for kids’ attention. I can vouch for that.

One thing is clear, the Renton Sailing Center is a great alternative for anyone looking to get out sailing. You’ll find the welcome mat out. I’m going to take their offer on heading out for a sail one of these days.

Here’s the story of the Renton Sailing Center by President Rebekah Padgett:

Founded in 1965, Renton Sailing Center (RSC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community sailing organization dedicated to the sport of sailing, with a family-like atmosphere to support the interests of sailors of all abilities.  

Located at the north end of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in Renton, RSC is has over 50 member families.  While most of the members live in the greater Renton area, they extend from Olympia to Everett and Port Ludlow to Fall City. 

RSC has provided small boat and keelboat instruction for many years, and over a year ago became a US Sailing Community Sailing Center.  It has been offering US Sailing Small Boat instruction ever since.  This year the Center held its first women only small boat sailing class, and it hopes to continue its focus on women. This summer RSC became a US Sailing-accredited Basic Keelboat Sailing School.  In 2017, RSC has every course full, for a total of 41 Small Boat students and 8 Basic Keelboat students.  Courses are offered through the City of Renton Community Services Department.

The Center supports an internal small boat racing/skill-building series that begins in May and goes through the summer.  It also provides sailing clinics to increase members’ skills.  Other activities include open sailing, a shoreline cleanup in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup, BBQs, a mentorship program for new members, and more.  

Occasionally members participate in outside races in Lake Washington, and one crew even completed Stage 1 of the Race 2 Alaska in 2016, from Port Townsend to Victoria.  

RSC held its second Experience Renton Sailing event in early June, where participants sign up for a free introductory sail.  This year was a record 61 participants, with 39 adult participants and 22 youth.  Most of them were first-time sailors from the Renton community.  RSC is proud of the growth of this event and that it was able to provide so many community members an opportunity to try sailing.  This epitomizes what  Renton Sailing Center is all about.

In the past, most of the vessels were donated, but RSC has been upgrading its fleet and currently has two Capri 14s, four RS Visions, a Hobie 18, Hunter 170, Ranger 20, Ranger 24, and Catalina 27.  

The entire organization is run by volunteers, including the instructors.  And all members are expected to contribute time and skills to the Center. 

Current members of the Board are President Rebekah Padgett, Vice President Kirsten Parks, Treasurer Rebecca Ward, and Secretary Katey Lent, as well as Maintenance Chief Dean Peoples and Members-at-Large Buzz Chase and Will Wagner.  

Some members have gone on to own their own boats, racing locally, living aboard, instructing at local sailing schools, or even heading out on a circumnavigation with current and past members as crew. 

RSC may be an unobtrusive little sailing center at the south end of Lake Washington, but it gives people who don’t have deep yachting roots a chance to try out the sport at an affordable rate, a supportive community, a place to build skills, and it even launches big dreams.

Learn more about RSC at rentonsailingcenter.org and follow them on Facebook at Renton Sailing Center.

Please share this piece on social media and with anyone you know who might be interested in a very local, very real, sailing club.

Harken Club for Kids

Harken Club for Kids

I’m lifting this post straight from Scuttlebutt. I’m sure neither the good folk at Scuttlebutt nor the good folk at Harken will mind. It’s for the kids after all, and the future of sailing. I signed up my son Ian right away. In an industry that is focused way too often on that extra 1/100th of a knot of boatspeed (and Harken is really really good at finding that speed) it’s great to see an eye turned to the important stuff. Please share with all the little sailors you know. Bill Faude of Harken explains:

What exactly is a Blockhead?

What’s the genesis of the Blockhead program?
Harken CEO Bill Goggins and myself have young kids getting into sailing (four kids between us between the ages of 6 and 12 with younger Goggins kids to age in soon) and so were logically remembering what kind of great sailing experiences we had growing up.

We remember drilling and pop riveting…moving cam cleats and changing between cam cleats and clam cleats and rigging twings and then going back to guy hooks…moving hiking straps around…flipping boats and wet sanding…really taking care of our boats to make sure they fit us better and in the balance learning to be self-reliant.

In the midst of this, we came to the realization that kids don’t do that now. The boats they sail are MUCH better than a generation ago. They all come well rigged, and not much breaks. Even second-hand Optis and 420s work beautifully.

As Harken employees, we are charged with growing our Brand. So we’ll never disguise the fact the existence of a sailing generation growing up without learning to screw or pop-rivet an eye strap to the deck, looked like a potential business risk. We felt the obligation to expose the next generation to the link between high-performance rigging applied effectively and better results. That link was not well understood.

All told we both wanted and needed to launch a program like this.

And what kind of program have you launched?
We want to help the next generation of sailors love sailing as much as we do. Sounds like BS when I say it, but it’s true. Personally, I like sailing because it lets me go ‘off the grid’ for a few hours. There are no curbs and gutters and lines on the racecourse, so I can call my own shots.

I actually still remember what it felt like when I first took my Laser (13095) off the dock and out of hearing range of my instructors. On my own. We think once kids feel that, they’ll imprint on the sport better.

Emotionally, we want kids to feel the confidence sailing can uniquely bring. Rationally, we want there to be less Helicoptering for parents to do. Sailors should know how to maintain their own boats…the earlier they start this the better.

We’re looking to engage the kids in the media they choose. So Blockheads is an old school fan-club model bolted to a video-infused website with social media opportunities for them to share their experiences and results.

Importantly, we’re really conscious of staying in our lane, so the content we’re trying to create is all about boat care, rigging, go-fast ideas and shared experiences. We’re working hard to curate it so we don’t get into areas where others are already excelling.

So there won’t be tactical discussions or sailing technique lessons. That’s not Harken’s niche. We explain how rigging works and how to upgrade for performance.

Who can join the program?
Anyone can join and it’s free, but we’re writing for a target between the Opti Green Fleet and the end of College Sailing. There’s free SWAG when you become a Blockhead. And we hope the program will grow so we can offer the benefits of becoming a member to more kids. Right now, we’ve budgeted for 1000 new members kits for this year.

• Additional details in this fact sheet or at www.harkenblockheads.com.
• Contact at blockheads@harken.com

Abbie Carlson is Yet Another Rising Seattle Sailing Star, Wins Leiter Cup

Abbie Carlson is Yet Another Rising Seattle Sailing Star, Wins Leiter Cup

The Seattle area seems to churn out champion sailors at a impressively steady pace. The latest is Abbie Carlson, who’s been quietly making her way through the ranks of local, regional and now national sailing. Abbie is part of the Seattle Yacht Club team, and the latest in a line of very successful junior women singlehanders including Hanne Weaver and Talia Toland. We did run the US Sailing press release, but took a shot at asking Abbie to come up with a few words – hopefully they’ll inspire more junior women, and sailors of all types and ages, to join the fun. We’ll keep tabs on all the men and women who are “out there” in the big regattas. Results. Here’s Abbie: 

 

Abbie Carlson and the Leiter Cup

I had an amazing time winning Leiter Cup this year at the Houston Yacht Club. After placing third at Leiter Cup last year in Seattle, my goal for this year’s regatta was to be first.

The first two days consisted of a clinic to adjust to Galveston Bay, the racing venue. The other three days were race days. Overall, this regatta had very light wind conditions with the occasional thunderstorm. On the first race day, after being postponed on the water for several hours due to no wind, we were finally able to sail one shifty and light wind race. I had a great start to the regatta winning this race by half a leg. We started a second race that day although it was abandoned due to an oncoming thunderstorm that brought 20+ knot of wind. The next day we weren’t able to get on the water until 5pm due to thunderstorms and the absence of wind. During these long postponements, it was challenging to remain focused. I found that staying patient and hydrated were essential in achieving this.

However, once the wind came up a bit, we were able to sail two more races in very light wind conditions. Due to the lack of the desired number of races, the race committee moved the start time from the daily 11am time to 9:30am for the final day of racing. By the last day, we had sailed a total of six races meaning that we were able to drop our worst score. The race committee considered starting a seventh race, however a thunderstorm started approaching us so they decided to call it off.

The girls that placed in the top five were all really close in points so I had no idea that I had won the regatta until I got to the dock. I was so excited to achieve my goal. I had such a fun time meeting new talented sailors from across the country and reconnecting with old friends. It’s exciting to know that the Leiter Cup has now been won by three sailors in the Northwest form the Seattle Yacht Club in the last six years. Without the help and support of my coach, Cameron Hoard, Brian Ledbetter, West Coast Sailing, and many others including US Sailing, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I can’t wait to attend Leiter Cup next year in Connecticut.